Biblegateway Verse of the Day

Do You Consider Yourself A Christian?

By Benjamin H. Liles

           When we're told in scripture, "Perfect love casts out fear," I think of what firemen, even what law enforcement officers do on a daily basis. Firemen don't simply put out fires, they rescue people from burning homes. They help others, while putting themselves at risk. Same with LEO's. So many people see cops as if they are the enemy, but really, they are like every single one of us. They eat, the sleep, have families, and even go out of their way to make sure of this one thing that they put their lives on the line for: "Am I making sure others are safe, while I'm working?"

          I just watched a short clip asking this: "Christian?" John, in his letter to the Churches said, "He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked" (1 John 2:4-6).

          What is a Christian? This isn't my opinion, but is based on what Jesus Christ Himself said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength" (Mark 12:30). So, what is a Christian? A Christian is someone who doesn't simply stand for God, or give apologetics lessons, or how to share your faith; it's more than all of that. A Christian is willing to give you the reason for their faith. Even if it sounds foolish to you, it makes sense to them.

          Why do I believe in Jesus Christ? I could give all sorts of answers, and all of those answers would be seen as "stupid" to others. But suffice it to say I had firsthand witnessed saving grace even though I deserved punishment for my so-called beliefs and actions. Six months ago, after I turned forty-five, my wife and I got into a massive fight. I totally lost it on her. About a week later, my gall bladder was septic. Coincidence? Maybe. I call it a miracle and a blessing. Here's why.

          On October 4th, 2018, I admitted myself to my local Scott and White. I thought I was simply having a severe case of acid reflux. Turns out through all scans that my gall bladder was three times it's original size. I asked my admitting doctor, named David, if I could come home, fifteen minute drive, to get my wife and ?I would come back and allow to be seen to get rid of this "toxic" gall bladder.

          I'm going to break here a moment and make this point: sin in your life is a lot like a toxic gall bladder. If it's not dealt with, it's going to get worse. And that "worse" in my case? I was going to die. I called myself a Christian, and thought -- keyword there, "thought," I was a Christian. Look back at what John said. "He who says, 'I know Him," and does not keep His commandments..." Wow, I was hugely off-track, and I admit that it made me exactly a liar. Ray always asks that as one of those questions: "Have you ever told a lie? What does that make you?"

          At any rate, on October 9th, a day before my surgery, I was super ill. I had a fever spiking way above 105. Nothing was going to break the fever. All the antibiotics doctors and nurses gave me were working at all. At one point my fever was so bad it topped out at 109! Wow!

          Late that night I was given a "glimpse" of my life. A void opened before my eyes, nothing but darkness, no light. It was like peering from an event horizon into the pit of the darkest and blackest black hole. I only have one word to fully describe it: Hell. I felt no God. I felt no love. And all I could do was watch in horror. It seemed like forever as I looked into that abyssal plain of Hell.

          So, what I did was I ran to the arms of Jesus. I asked Him to invade my life. I just threw those doors open for Him to come into my life. I couldn't take it. I admitted the wrong I did to my wife, the yelling and the arguing. I gave up all past sins I ever did; towards my parents, my sister, past girlfriends, the lying, the thefts, the adultery, the idolatry -- you get the picture. The minute I did I felt arms, actual arms encase me. I felt a peace I never knew or understood before in my life.

          Ask me again what a Christian is. It's someone who is so in love with the God who saved them from sin, Hell, and death through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. It's someone who so desires to see captives set free from those chains. It's someone who sees a house on fire and against all odds pulling people free from the burning house. It's making sure people don't race off a thousand foot cliff towards destruction.

          Guys, we all think we know so much better than God. We can sit there and make excuses as to why we shouldn't read the Bible. We all sit there and say, "But I asked all the tough questions and all I got were pat answers such as 'Well, you just have to have faith.'"" God has those answers. Start today! Start now! Yes, at first scripture won't make sense to you, it never did to me.

          It's sense been six months since my gall bladder was taken out. Yes, I'm still overweight, but at least my wife has peace and safety. Here's the thing of it: that gall bladder had to come out and be dealt with. Why? Shortly after that was taken out, our Texas city we live in was in the range of Hill Country flooding. I had a sense, and so did my wife, we needed to stay put. Sure enough the flood waters never reached us.

          After the flood waters resided you could see how much destruction those waters caused. Massive eroding in our park undermined houses on a peninsula into the lake. The city had to buy those properties out and to make that area safe again. The bridge in Kingsland was swept downstream due to flooding. It's now almost finished being rebuilt. A lot of people will sit there and say it's simply "Coincidence." 

          To me, I know better. God had me when my gall bladder was basically exploding. He was showing Himself to me. I could still see Him even in the flood, telling my wife and I we would be safe and fine, while other residents went for higher ground, not fully understanding we were on higher ground.

          Faith in Him is so important. If you don't have that, you never will. Without that faith and the humility to say, "I'm a sinner in need of your favor and grace!" you might as well as be thumbing your nose at God. He will get your attention one way or another. I've worked on sharing Christ on my blog/website for some time now, but I have to say this, God is real. You can sit there and say, "Point me to the evidence."

          I could point out a horse needs water to live, that it needs a trough, that it needs to be tacked up, have a saddle and to be ridden, but unless you get on that horse and ride you'll never experience any power of a horse. Same with the Bible. All it takes is reading it and asking the good Lord to show Himself to you. Yes, there are some bad, terrible Churches out there that do not teach His word right. No church is perfect, and if that's what you're looking for, you never will see what's staring you in the face. The Church is a body of like-minded believers who come together to see and do God's grace among men.

          Christ Himself said this, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). I'm not perfect by any means, but God on high is perfect. So is Jesus Christ of Nazareth. He's taken your punishment so you don't have to remain in God's wrath. Until you see yourself as a tax collector, a sinner, and in need of His mercy, you will be like the Pharisee who beat his chest saying, "I am better than this tax collector!" Sinners believe they are better than those who put their faith and trust in the risen Christ who died in our place.

          So, Christian? Did you do your best to share Christ with others today as Christ said to do? Or are you doing as John is saying and basically admitting you're a liar? Either way you decide who you belong to: God or this world.

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